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Cairo teachers suspend sit-in, but continue to strike

Decision to suspend sit-in before Cabinet building leads to split within ranks of independent teachers' union

Ahram Online , Sunday 25 Sep 2011
Teacher
Teacher's strike (Photo by Mai Shaheen)
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Hundreds of Egyptian teachers have decided to suspend their sit-in in front of the Cabinet building in Cairo for one week in order to give ongoing talks with government representatives a chance.

Hassan Ahmed, chairman of the self-styled Independent Teachers Syndicate, announced on Saturday that the sit-in would be temporarily suspended following a government announcement that teachers' grievances would be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday. The syndicate plans to issue a statement on the results and implications of the Cabinet discussion following the meeting.

The teachers' decision to suspend their sit-in coincided with attempts by security personnel to disperse it by force.

The move, however, has reportedly led to a split between different syndicate branches, with members of the syndicate's executive office announcing on Sunday that they planned to continue the sit-in despite the Cabinet announcement. They say that Hassan took the decision to suspend the action without consulting syndicate members.

Despite the suspension of the sit-in, meanwhile, an ongoing teachers' strike has continued into its second consecutive week. Schools throughout Cairo have consequently reported high rates of absence among both students and teachers.

According to statements by the Ministry of Education, rising numbers of teachers have joined the strike action in recent days.

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